According to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and
Stroke Statistics, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is still the
United States number one killer of men and women of all ethnic
groups. The statistical update for 2005 utilized the statistics
compiled for 2002, or the most recent year that data are
Cardiovascular diseases include high blood pressure,
arrhythmia, valve disease, congestive heart failure and stroke.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) or hardening of the arteries is the
largest killer of Americans. There were 494.4 thousand coronary
heart disease deaths in 2002 including 179.5 thousand deaths
from heart attack. The deaths from CHD included 241.6 thousand
females of which 25.9 thousand were Black females. The number of
deaths from strokes for Black females was 9.6 thousand.
o 1 in 4 females has some form of cardiovascular disease.
o Since 1984, the number of CVD deaths for females has exceeded
those for males.
o In 2002 CVD caused the deaths of 493, 623 females compared
with 433,825 males. Females represent 53.2 percent of deaths
o In the United States in 2002, all cardiovascular diseases
combined claim the lives of 493,623 females while all forms of
cancer combined to kill 268,503 females. Breast cancer claimed
the lives of 41,514 females; lung cancer claimed 67,542.
o The 2002 overall death rate from CVD was 320.5. Death rates
¬–265.6 for white females
–368.1 for black females.
o *In 2002 cardiovascular disease was the first listed diagnosis
of 3,164,000 females discharged from short-stay hospitals.
Discharges include people both living and dead.
The risk factors for CVD are not only common in the African
America community, they are also preventable. These factors
include high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol profile,
overweight & obesity, abnormal blood glucose and the use of
Risk factors are preventable at an early age, before manifesting
as cardiovascular disease later.
Lifestyle choices for prevention include but are not limited to:
o Exercising 30 minutes daily
o Eat vegetables, fruits and grains
o Eat a low fat, low carbohydrate, low cholesterol, low salt
o Eat fish, lean meats, poultry
o Drink eight glasses of water daily
o Eliminate processed foods, sugar, pastry
o Reduce life stressors and/or reaction to stressors
o Engage in spiritual activities
o Give community service
Due to the urgent need for ongoing intervention to reverse the
trend of increasing numbers of diabetes and obesity, heart
disease and stroke, I have partnered with the American Heart
Association to provide a community awareness program to help
improve the health and wellness of community residents. This
program revolves around the National Go Red for Women and Heart
To help raise the awareness of community residents and its
members at large, of the need for heart health and the
prevention of CAD in women, I encourage women to join me on
February 3 by wearing red, in accordance with the American Heart
Association’s National Go Red for Women Day. In addition I ask
women to schedule an appointment for themselves and family
members to see their nurse practitioner, internist, or
*Source: The American Heart Association